Aug 19, 201412:39 PMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Ferguson, Mo., is where liberal racism went to die
(page 1 of 2)
Like the O.J. Simpson jury, the shooting in Ferguson, Mo., is a litmus test of the two Americas — the personally responsible versus the chronic victim.
An 18-year-old black man is gunned down with his hands raised in surrender at the hand of a racist white police officer of a militarized occupying power. From that initial narrative, catnip for the mainstream news media, the story keeps getting walked back.
The police officer had a blameless record. The young man had just boosted a box of cigars and strong-armed the store manager. He was walking down the middle of the street and possibly made a play for the officer’s weapon.
Never mind. “The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race,” Time magazine assures. “… it’s about class warfare, and how America’s poor are held back.”
Or holding themselves back. Stealing a box of cigars from a convenience store is not a path to success.
That a private autopsy shows that Michael Brown was shot six times hardly proves police misconduct but instead suggests that he did not stand down but — perhaps fueled by drugs — kept coming.
- Let us stipulate that Michael Brown did not deserve to die for boosting stogies (he knew even if the officer did not).
- It is inexcusable for a police force of 53 to employ only three black officers in a community that is 70% black.
- Nor is there any excuse for the looting and vandalism. No excuse for throwing rocks and incendiaries.
But the liberal-progressive-socialist critique that the people of Ferguson, Mo., are victims of the white power structure is wrong. It is destructive. It is causation.
“A community already suffering the loss of one of its own found their town occupied by what appeared to be a paramilitary force,” The Nation magazine spins.
But those armored vehicles so gleefully exaggerated by editorial cartoonists kill no one; the armor protects the police within from the firepower of miscreants armed with so-called street sweepers. No police chief or sheriff expects his force to take a bullet for the cause. At the very least, an officer protected by armor would have that much less of an excuse to shoot.
It is worth considering that a local crime rate — nearly five times the national average — killed Michael Brown just as surely as that officer’s firearm. Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal interviewed New York Police Chief William Bratton, practitioner of the “broken windows” school of policing:
Broken windows stresses that endemic criminality is not primarily a function of the usual “root causes” — poverty, racism, bad schools, broken families, and so on. The real problem is disorder itself.
“Disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence,” [Milwaukee native George] Kelling observed in a seminal 1982 Atlantic magazine article, co-written with the late James Q. Wilson. The mere appearance of disorder — graffiti, broken windows, an abandoned car, drug dealers or prostitutes openly plying their trades — creates a sense that nobody’s looking, nobody cares, nobody is in charge. Bad guys respond to these environmental cues by acting badly. Good people stay off the street, bolt their doors, move out.
Yes, walking down the middle of a busy street is one such warning sign that this is the Wild West. Anything goes.
I have written extensively about the breakdown of comity in a particular Madison neighborhood where liberal-minded residents were encouraged to make excuses for deteriorating behavior. (“Crime comes to a Madison neighborhood.”) I am a huge fan of broken windows policing, as was past Madison Police Chief Noble Wray. But let’s take it a step further.
Yes, some of us were dealt poor cards — historical racism, poverty, disability. But waiting for government to right your ship is like waiting for Godot. We’re observing the 50th anniversary of Big Liberalism’s War on Poverty, and we’ve got Ferguson, Mo., in 2014?
Life, as none other than Jimmy Carter once said, is not fair. It is unfair that some may have to put in extra effort to get where others already are. But isn’t that the history of America?
Did Michael Brown deserve to die? Of course not. Neither did the young Madison man — spectacularly drunk — who went for a policeman’s gun several years ago. White on white. But stupid behavior is risky behavior. Don’t fight with a man pointing a gun at you.